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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Industry Insight

The importance of the manufacturing side of the pharmaceutical industry is often underestimated. However, without manufacturing and packaging processes, none of us would have access to the modern medicines we all need.

Such processes utilise an extremely wide range of technologies, and PMPS aims to cover as many of these as possible. I believe that in this edition, the first of 2014, we do just that very well. Alongside the articles which I have highlighted below, this issue also explores environmental waste, robotics, printing trends in packaging, supply chain relationships, thermal fluid maintenance and overall equipment effectiveness.

In the past, we have featured few articles about nutraceuticals. Rob Blanchard and Trevor Higgins at I Holland highlight some of the manufacturing challenges and the increasingly strict regulations that must be considered in the production of nutraceuticals in tablet form. Some of the technical issues arise from the multitude of active ingredients used – as many as 50 in some cases – together with up to eight excipients. These ingredients can have separation and flow issues, and tablet production from the obtained mixture can result in a variety of uniformity problems.

Nutraceuticals may also contain natural ingredients which cause damage to machinery, as well as additional stability concerns. As with many tablet formulations, the authors conclude that detailed design is essential – but that getting all aspects of this design right is no easy matter.

In later life, my mother suffered from severe arthritis in her hands, and I recall her telling me how she used to go to her next door neighbours’ house to seek assistance in opening the packaging of her medicines. If no adults were present, she used to ask the 10-year-old daughter of the house to help. In their article on child-resistant packaging, Marek Miszczak and Christina Desirée Holder at Gerresheimer point out that small children are more at risk of being involved in an accident in the home than on the road, but highlight a confl ict between the requirements of the senior citizen and the need to protect children.

The authors conclude that primary packaging manufacturers will have to collaborate closely with their customers, in order to develop innovative closures which can more effectively combine child-resistant and senior citizenfriendly features than the currently widely used ‘push and turn’ or ‘squeeze and turn’ closures.

This edition of PMPS also contains four articles on the use of modern plastics in the packaging and delivery of pharma products. John Voyce of PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers discusses how these elastomers combine flexibility and soft touch with the advantages of potential for recycling. Polyolefin resins are the subject of the article by Alessandro Guidicini and Alexander Woerz at LyondellBasell, while Rodolfo Merola and Robert Scott at Thermo Fisher Scientific address the question: “Is plastic really better than glass?”. This is also answered by Lloyd Waxman, Vinod Vilivalam and Dennis Liu at West Pharmaceutical Services, with respect to the increasing use of proteins as therapeutic agents.

Finally, I want to mention an article by Pradeep Kasirajan at Beroe, who reviews the state of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacture in India, in light of the current under-utilisation of Indian capacity. He feels that this will continue the shift of API procurement to countries like India and China, because of the increasing price gap between Eastern and Western countries.

May I conclude this editor’s letter by wishing all our readers, contributors and advertisers a very happy and prosperous 2014.

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